tv CNN Newsroom CNN January 14, 2013 8:00am-9:00am PST
next year. >> i want to talk a little bit about atlanta, because i have dual citizenship, i live in baltimore and i live in atlanta. that was also an astounding game, that was a fantastic game. so has atlanta finally put all the naysayers to rest? i mean they have proven they can win in playoffs, right? >> they did win and it was very exciting, it's interesting, though, they have opened up as t the underdogs in this game. atlanta fans are very happy this morning, i get a lot of tweets and a lot of e-mails, and it's true, this was a big-time show me game, everybody was waiting for the falcons to do this. >> then they almost gave the game right back, and it another physical testimony, the 49ers to have to travel across the country.
ultimately this team is no joke, you saw co you -- he ran the option that destroyed the packers. >> i can't wait -- aaron, thank you so much. thank you for joining me. i'm carol cosell low, cnn newsroom continues right now with wolf blitzer. hello, everyone, i'm wolf blitzer in washington, we want to welcome you to our special coverage leading into president obama's last news conference in his first term as president of the united states. the president will be meeting with reporters in the east room of the white house, he's getting ready for that, originally he was scheduled for 10:15, now it's been rescheduled to 11:30.
about a half hour from now. there you're seeing a live picture of the white house right now on this monday morning, once again, this will be the president's last formal news conference. in his first term as president, he's sworn in in his second term as president. the president will open his news conference later today we're told with a statement on the debt ceiling and why he has said repeatedly over these past few weeks that he will not negotiate with republicans about raising the debt ceiling, as a result he says he won't negotiate, republicans say that is a bargaining chip that they have to try to cut spending to deal with the nation's deficit. we're watching what's going on at the white house, we'll have the full coverage of the news conference leading into it. we're also watching right now
what's happening in newtown, connecticut. one month to the stay after that brutal massacre, you're looking now at live pictures, a news conference there, they're going to read a poem, let's listen in. >> it is a sad honor to be here today. it's been one month since i lost my son dillon and 25 other teams lost their loved ones. at times it feels like only yesterday and at other times it feels as if many years have passed. i still find myself reaching for dillon's hand to walk through a car parking lot. it's so hard to believe he's gone. at the same time i look at our community and what has been achieved in one month. a vacant school has been lovingly restored with great care and attention to welcome students back into a peaceful and safe environment. many businesses and groups are promoting the love we have in newtown as well as fundraising
to help those in most need. neighbors here and elsewhere are reaching out to each other to provide support, services, a listening ear, a should tore cry on. i have had the honor to meet people from similar events in aurora, columbine and virginia tech and hope they can teach ugh ways to help heal our families in town. i do not want to be someone sharing my experience and consoling another parent next time. i do not want there to be a next time. the sandy took promises the start of our change. it's a promise we make for our community, but we need a nation of communities to join us to meet -- i don't know yet what these changes are. i come with no preconceiveded agenda. i do believe there's no quick fix single action, but instead a multitude of interlinked actions
that are needed. i love newtown. and i love sandy hook. my family chose to live here and we stand by our choice. one tragedy cannot undermine this town's spirit and love. it is already strong before december 14, and if we could flash forward and look at newtown in one year, three years, or several years after that, i know we will see a community that's even stronger and more beautiful than it was previously. a place that is helping to lead change and modeling the way a community should be. i'm proud to be part of this town and i'm proud to stand before you to stand for my son dillon and pledge my enduring support to this promise. >> i'm anna's mom. on friday december 14, i put two children on the bus and only one
came home. i pray that no mother, father, grandparent or care giver of children ever have to go through this pain, in our home, our faith, our family, our friends have helped carry ugh through this unbearable pain. i know that our good shepard walks through us. we will not fear darkness or evil or hate. we are honoring ana's life and may love win in america. our hearts are broken, our spirit is not. and it is with this knowledge that we are able to move forward
with purpose and strength. this is a promise to support our own, our families, our neighbors, our teachers, our community with dedication and love. as well as the material and financial needs they are require in the days ahead. this is a promise to truly honor the lives lost by turning our tragedy into a moment of transform mags. this is a promise to be open to all possibilities, there is no agenda other than to make our communities and our nation a safer better, place. this is a promise to have the conversations on all the issues, conversations where listening is as important as speak. conversations where even those with the most opposing views can debate in good will. this is a promise to turn the conversation into actions, things muft change, this is the time.
this is a promise we make to our pressure children, because each child, every human life is filled with promise and though we continue to be filled with unbearable pain, we choose love, belief and hope instead of anger. this is a promise to do everything in our power to be remembered not as the town filled with grief and victims, but as the place where real change began. our hearts are broken, our spirit is not. this is our promise, the sandy hook promise. so there it is t sandy hook promise, exactly one month ago today, a horrible massacre occurred at that elementary school. i remember going there in the days that followed, an event
that changed all of our lives t horror of that day, and now these family members, these parents and the skmupt leaders are meeting with these parents, with the sandy hook promise. they want to take something away from what that tragedy was and deal with it and begin this long, long journey with moving on and hoping it will never, ever happen again. we will continue to watch be's happening in nowtown, connecticut. special coverage on cnn today, continue, anderson cooper will be back reporting from newtown, later tonight, a special "piers morgan tonight" at 9:00 p.m. eastern all about what has happened in that month since the massacre at the sandy hook elementary school. we're also waiting for the president to speak at his last news conference in his first term as president out of the united states. the president will -- the
president. he's inaugurated officially on january 20. we're aware that the president will devote his opening statement to raising the nation's debt ceiling which we technically bumped into on new year's eve, they're using sort of bookkeeping mechanisms to deal with it. fiscal cliff showed on. he says congress has an obligation to pay all the bills it's already racked up, period. we'll be covering the president's news conference from both ends of pennsylvania avenue. i want to go to our chif business correspondent ali velshi. why this is so critical
important? >> it's important and it's misrepresented so a lot of people all the way from politicians to people's financial advisors will tell you that it's a lot like your credit him or your line of credit. it's not like either of those things, it is a uniquely american phenomenon. most government in the world understand that once you decide to pay for something, once you decide to pass a bill that requires money, you're required to pay for it. in the united states what used to happen is that if there's a deficit, the treasury would have to issue a bond to pay for every sepgal piece of law. pay for things congress has already committed to. they wouldn't have to go back every time. it was meant to make it easier for treasury. it was never meant to be a debt control or spending control mechanism, but what it is is the ability to write the checks for things that government has already spent. as a result if the government doesn't raise the debt ceiling by about february 15, the amount of money that will have to go out will exceed the amount of money that's coming in. it already did that, but
treasury is using some unusual mechanisms to keep the bills paid until then. after that it becomes a bigger problem. in some cases the united states will have to delay payment of bills, these bills are paychecks, they're bond interest, they're all sorts of things. and at that point the united states could risk going into some kind of default. and the last time we went through this fight, remember n 20 is 1, the summer of 2011, america's credit rating went down, interest rates went off little bit. could we see that type of situation unfold once again. >> this is the only place where it makes sense to compare this to your personal situation or your business situation. if the credit rating of the united states goes down, your interest rate also go up.
s&p downgraded the united states but because there was so much going on in the rest of the world including europe, these ratings agencies don't look at you -- so as a result, u.s. interest rates did not go up to the extent that some thought it might, but now we have a different situation, europe is getting its act together. the u.s. a year and a half later still isn't. and so there's still a chance that rates could go up. these are government borrowing ra rates ask is.
>> well, i can tell you this, the republicans and the congress are playing chicken with the full faith and credit of the united states of america and that doesn't go well in l.a. or it doesn't go well in peoria, frankly. the fact of the matter is these are debts that have already been accumulated, they have been racked up as the president has said and we got to pay for them. we sound like a bunch of deadbeats. i don't think that goes with most people. they want to see most people work together. novel thing in the cook, they want them to fix, make sure that we don't default on our debts, that we address sequestration, make the cuts that we need to
make, do it in a balanced way, they want them to walk and chew gum at the same time, address safe gun legislation and immigration. that's what they were elected to do. >> because i know that at the news conference the president will open up with a statement on the deficit and raidsing the nation's debt ceiling, but you know the reporters are going to ask questions on those two issues that you just raised. let's just quickly talk about both of these. you're here in washington to talk about the -- you may well remember president obama trieded it, he had ted kennedy on his side, he had mccain on his side, it didn't go anywhere. what do you think if the president tries to push for comprehensive immigration reform including a pathway to citizenship for so many of the ten, 10 million illegal immigrations from -- >> they lost about 71% of the
latino vote, 74% of the asian vote. the vast majority of people in the country in poll after poll after poll including your own say that people want comprehensive immigration reform that provides a pathway for citizenship. i saw john mccain yesterday on face the nation and i can tell you that we were in the room together, he's working with some eight senators, he believes that we're on the path to get comprehensive immigration reform and i think that both parties would be -- would do well by the american people if they did that and i think that's the difference. an election has a way of making a statement, and i think it did, particularly for the republicans who, as you know, were calling for the south deportation of 11 million people. >> a lot of republicans out there say they won't vote for anything that smacks as what they call amnesty. the proposal that you're going to unveil today, the proposal
that the president will supposedly unveil in the next few weeks is not amnesty. >> it's earned, you have to pay your back taxes, you have to show that you've been in the country working for a period of time. you had to show that you have a background check so you haven't broken any serious laws, you have to learn english and the like. it's earned, it not automatic. it would be a pathway to citizenship, but the fact of the matter is, we need full citizenship. we can't have second class citizenship, that won't work, we can't have a temporary program that won't work. we can't have a peace meal approach like some members in the senate have called for. it's got to be cover comprehensive, it's got to be full citizenship, we have got to get these people from out of the dark and into the light. the effect of bringing these people from out of the dark and into the light in the time of debt and deficit is the following, $1.5 trillion input
into the economy, they help to maintain our social security system. we know that we're now a majority, children majority minority are being born inn now in the united states these kids will help beef up our social security system which we have got to strengthen right now. >> so you think looking at washington, that in this second term, the first year of the second term, the approximate it can deal with such important critical economic issues like raising the nation's set ceiling, but he can also deal with comprehensive immigration reform and also deal with the issue of gun safety out there, all three of these issues, do you think the president could juggle at the same time with congress? >> i know president barack obama, that's not the real question. the answer is yes, that's not
the real question, the question is request the congress. remember the last congress was the least productive congress in 50, of years, maybe longer. and this congress has got to move in another direction, they have got to be able to chew gum and walk at the same time, yes, it doesn't feel like it based on what we have seen in the past, but the people elected them to do that. and what is their rating at right now? i think 12%. if they want to pick that up, if they want to do something right by the american people, they're going to have to address the major issues facing the nation right now. yes, as nd speaking on behalf o the conference of mayors, i can tell you that all of the mayors feel very strongly about this issue, all of the issues that i just mentioned. >> including guns? >> well, absolutely. you mean, we need an assault weapons ban, we need a ban high
capacity magazines, we need universal background checks, right now 40% of all the gun sales are done by private owners, no background check is required, we need to beef up our mental health registry, provide for mental health services and we also need to address the culture of violence in this country and parents need to have real conversations and teachers and students need to have real conversations in our schools about bullying and the issue of violence and how violent prone we are as a nation. >> mayor, always good to have you here on cnn, we appreciate your dropping by. >> thanks for having me. >> and once again, we're standing by to hear from the president of the united states, he's getting ready to walk into the east room of the whourks we'll check in with our reporters and our analysts right after this.
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gauntlet to the republicans. it's going to say we have got to extend the debt ceiling, we don't want to shut down the president. i assume the president will be telling, nds he's going to say to the midwestern people wuk, we have to be responsible about this. entitlement problem that we have got with to force him on this debt ceiling issue. i know it seems like we have seen this movie before, but i think this is going to make a fiscal cliff fight look small because republicans are angry about what happened last time, they're angry at their speaker. they believe he capitulated an the spending cut side, they're not willing to do that again, and many republicans are willing
to take this right to default and the president is going to say that's irresponsible. >> our senior congressional correspondent dana bash is here. the republicans say the nice's debt is exploding the deficit spending is exploding and they have got to do something about it right now. >> and just as gloria was saying there are certainly a number of rank and file republicans who are willing to make good on the threat that if the president, if the white house and democrats here do not agree to couple every dollar that we increase the debt limit with a dollar of spending cuts that they're willing to default on the u.s.'s loan and taking it to the next level, they're willing to shut down the government if they don't agree to more spending cuts. there appears to be a little bit more shift in terms of the public messaging even today
among house republican leaders, wolf, and that is in the past, even up until last week, that the speaker imts made very clear for lack of a better way to say it shoot the hostage, he's willing to say that he wants spending cuts, but at the end of the day, he's not being to force the u.s. to defought on its loans because he knows it will be very potentially devastating to the credit limit and other things in the economy. but in terms of the public message towards the white house, that has shifted, you saw kathy mcmorris rogers tell politico this morning that at least are willing to potentially shut down the government, that is also something that they have not been saying that they were willing to do. whether this is bravado, trying to put the onus back on the president or whether it is real, that is a big question mark. this is going to be topic a. >> i think there's a split among
those house republicans and that was evidence on the vote in the fiscal cliff, the senate version passed overwhelm dpli on the system, but the majority of the republicans in the house voted against it even though the speaker voted in favor. and paul ryan, the vice chairman of the -- voted in favor with eric cantor and kevin mccarthy the number two and three leaders voted against it. >> i just want to add to dana, and you tell me if you agree. i think this could be a moment of truth really for the house speaker because his speakership was clearly weakened during the fiscal cliff and now his republicans say you can only bring something to the floor if a majority of us agree with you, unlike the important that puts him at odds with his own
republicans if a majority i think you're exactly right there. the other thing to keep in mind is with the fiscal cliff vote, wolf, you're exactly right, only 85% of the republicans voted for, the majority of the republican caucus did not vote for the fiscal cliff package. but when it comes to the politics of this and support for the speakers, many people gave him a pass. they feel that they understood where they were with the fiscal cliff. republicans had the leverage. they feel that they have the rev lage here and they don want to give it up. it's a very delicate dance that the speaker is going to have to do to convince the republicans that they do have leverage, but how far are they willing to take it. patience is running out among house republicans with the speaker about just how many times they're willing to say
okay fine, we'll talk about the next fight. >> brianna keeler is in the east room right now, brianna, i don't know about you, but i only found out about this news conference this morning, was this one of these last-minute decisions? what's going on over there? >> we found out with very short notice that president obama would be giving this press come frensz and there are a number of issues pressing that he will get questions about. the debt ceiling as you have been talking about, he has said that he will not negotiate -- he will not negotiate with republicans on the debt ceiling, end of point, that is what he has said. the question of course is how exactly does he plan to execute that and can he really render this one card that republicans have to play in this fight mute? that's obviously what he's trying to do, but republicans have said, this is a tool that has been used all the way back to the 80s that they feel that they are well within their right to use it as a tool, president
obama obviously disagrees with that and says it's playing chicken with the full faith and credit of the united states. but the debt ceiling of course is something he'll be asked about today but there's a number of other issues, but among them, the recent picks in his cabinet, he's received a lot of criticism for his top cabinet picks recently being all white men. he'll be asked about the lack of diversity that we have seen in those picks, we have also seen the resignation recently of his labor secretary hilda solis, we found out that one of his chiefs of staff, will be leaving the white house. she had been considered the long shot for being his new chief of staff. and also wolf, he'll be asked, i suspect about guns, he said after the presidential debates that he supported the
reinstatement of the assault weapons ban. if it requires a lot of political capital push for congress to do what will be a very heavy lift. so we're looking at more certainty on what will be ---solutions on gun violence. we're expecting recommendations from the vice president tomorrow and we're expecting president obama to act shortly after that, wolf. >> we do know if those recommendations from the vice president will be given in confidence and private to the president or will they be made public by the vice president right away? >> we don't know. we understand that they have been preparing them, as you know, there have been meetings on thursday and friday of last week, and we're still waiting to see if those are going to be released. we have been trying to get some answers, but -- >> we haven't seen the two two-warning before the president walks out, we haven't received
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we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. we're standing by within the next minute or so, the president of the united states will walk out towards the podium over there, he's in the east room of the white house where his last news conference in his first term as president of the united states on sunday, he's sworn in for a second term, that's january 20th. the formal ceremonies that will take place on monday january 21st. the president, we're told, will open with a statement on raising the nation's debt ceiling, all of the deficit problems the
country is facing right now, there's another looming deadline mid-february, early march, the nation's debt ceiling must be raised otherwise the full faith and credit of the united states could come into question. right now the current public debt is $16.43 trillion unless congress, both the house and the senate pass legislation, the president sign into law raising that nation's debt ceiling, the u.s. treasury could be in deep, deep trouble, raising questions about america's ability, willingness to pay its debt. u.s. could pay that debt, it would otherwise have to cut enormously for areas in domestic spending and defense 13e7bding in order to do so. and the president's saying don't hold america's economy 40s stajs in this political battle over deficit reduction dealing with nation's death. he will have an impassioned
statement at the top and then he will ask reporters' questions. i assume there will be questions on guns. tomorrow the vice president is supposed to hand over his recommendations to the president about gun safety in the united states. gloria borger is here, it's a historic moment right now in the days leading up to inauguration, always, always very exciting, for those of us who are history buffs. he's got an enormous agenda in his second term and there's no guarantee that he's going to be able to succeed in all those areas. >> when the president started his first term it was a clear fiscal agenda and lots of people in the administration were hoping that by time he got around to starting these second term he would take on immigration, which he clearly intends to do. but before he gets to that kind of a large legacy making issue, if you will, wolf, he's got to
get beyond all of these fiscal speed bumps if you will. >> here comes the president right now, so let's listen. >> please, have a seat, everybody. good morning. i thought it might make sense to take some questions this week as my first term comes to an end. it's been a busy and productive four years. and i expect the same for the next four years. i intend to carry out the agenda that i campaigned on and the agenda for new jobs, new opportunity and new security for the middle class. now right now, our economy is growing, and our businesses are creating new jobs, so we are poised for a good year. if we make smart decisions, and sound investments. and as long as washington politics don't get in the way of america's progress. as i said on the campaign, one component to growing our economy and broadening opportunity for
the middle class is shrinking our deficits in a balanced and responsible way. and for nearly two years now i have been fighting for such a plan, one that would reduce our deficits by $4 trillion over the next decade wiz would stabilize our debts and our deficit for the next decade. that would not only -- make it mandatory so it doesn't crowd out the investments we need to make in education and science and medical research, all the things that help us grow. step by step, we have made progress towards that goal. over the fast two years, i have signed into law about $1.4 trillion in spending cuts. two weeks ago, i signed into law more than $600 billion in new revenue by making sure the wealthiest americans begin to pay their fair share. when you add the money that
we'll save in interest payments on the debt, all together that adds up to a total of about $2.5 trillion in deficit reduction over the past two years, not counting the $400 billion already saved from winding down the wars in iraq and afghanistan. so we have made prove progress, we are moving towards our ultimate goal of getting to our $4 trillionreduction. and there will be more deficit reduction when congress decides what 20 do about the automatic spends cuts that have been pushed back until next month. the fact is we can't finish the job of deficit reduction through spending cuts alone. the cuts we have already made through priorities other than medicare, medicaid, social security and defense mean that we spend on everything from education to public safety, less
as a share of our economy than has been true for a generation. and that's not a recipe for growth. so we have got to do more both to stabilize our finances over the medium long-term but also spur more growth in the short-term. i have said i'm open to making modest adjustments like medicare to protect them from future generations, i have also said that we need more revenue through tax reform by closing loopholes in our tax reform for the wealthiest americans. if we combine a balanced package of saving through -- we can solve the deficit issues without sacrificing things like our investments in education that are going to help us grow. turns out the american people agree with me. they listened to an entire year's debate over this issue and they made a clear decision about the approach they prefer. they don't think it's fair for
example to ask a senior to pay more for his or her health care or for a scientist to shut down ground breaking research so that a multimillionaire can pay less taxes than a secretary. they don't think it's smart to close endless loopholes for wealthy americans rather than invest in our roads and to help manufacturers bring jobs back to america. they want us to bring our books in order no a balanced way where everybody pulls their weight and everybody does their part. that's what i want as well. that pie that's what i've proposed. and we can get it done, but we're going to have to make sure that people are looking at this in a responsible way, rather than just through the lens of politics. now the other congressly imposed deadline coming up is something called the debt ceiling.
something most americans hadn't even heard of before two years ago. i want to be clear about this. the debt ceiling is not a question of authorizing more spending. raising the debt ceiling does not authorize more spending, it simply allows the country to pay for spending that congress has already committed to. these are bills that have already been racked up. and we need to pay them. so while i'm willing to compromise and find common ground over how to reduce our deficits, america cannot afford another debate with this congress about whether or not they should pay the bills they have already racked up. if congressional republicans refuse to pay america's bills on time, social security checks and veteran's benefits will be delayed. we might not be able to pay our troops or honor or contracts for small business owners.
food inspectors, air traffic controllers, specialist who is track down loose nuclear materials wouldn't get their paychecks. investors around the world will ask if america is in fact a safe bet. markets could go haywire, interest rates could spike for anybody who borrowing money, every homeowner who borrows money, every student with a student loan and every business owner who wants to grow and hire. it would be a self-inflicted wound on the economy. it would slow down our growth, might tip us into recession, and ironically, would probably increase our deficit. so to even entertain the idea of this happening, of the united states of america not paying its bills is irresponsible. it's absurd. as the speaker said two years ago, it would be, and i'm quoting speaker boehner now, a
financial disaster not only for us, but for the worldwide economy. so we have got to pay our bills. and republicans and congress have two choices here, they can act responsibly and pay america's bills, or they can act irresponsibly and put america through another economic crisis. but they will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the american economy. the financial well-being of the american people is not leveraged to be used. the full faith and credit of the united states of america is not a bargaining chip. and they better choose quickly because time is running short. the time lime republicans in congress even flirted with this idea, our aaa credit rating was down for the first time in our history. our businesses created the fewest jobs in any month in nearly the past three years and
the whole fiasco actually added to the deficit. so it wouldn't be surprising given all this talk that the american people think that washington is hurting rather than helping the country at the moment. they see their representatives consumed with partisan brinkmanship over paying our bills while they overwhelmingly want us to focus on grow tarrant county economy and creating more jobs. so let's finish this debate. let's give our businesses and the world the certainty that our economy and our reputation are still second to none. we pay our bills, we handle our business, then we can move on because america has a lot to do. we have got to create more jobs, we have got to boost the wages of those who have worked and we have got to reach for energy inspecti independence, we have got to reform our immigration system and we have got to do everything we can to protect them from the horrors of gun violence and i
wants to than vice president biden for his work on this issue of gun violence and for his proposals which i'm going to be reviewing today and i will address in the next few days and i intend to fig rousely pursue. with that i am going to take some questions and i am going to start with julie pace of ap and i want to congratulate judy for this new important job. >> i wanted to ask about gun violence. today marks the one-month anniversary of the shooting in newtown which seemed to generate new -- fresh opposition from that ban to the nra and even harry reid question wlits could pass congress. given that how hard will you push for an assault weapons ban and what other measures would need to be included in a broad package in order to curb gun violence successfully? >> like i said t vice president
and a number of the members of my cabinet went through a very thorough progress over the past month, meeting a lot of stake holders in this, including the nra, listened to proposals from all quarters and they presented me now with a list of sensible common sense steps that can be taken to make sure that the kinds of violence we saw at newtown doesn't happen again, i am going to be meeting with the vice president today, i expect to have a fuller presentation later in the week to give people some specifics about what i think we need to do. my starting point is not to worry about the politics, my starting point is to focus on what makes sense, what works. what should we be doing to make sure that our children are safe and that hear reducing the incidence of gun violence, i think we can do that in a sensible way that comports with the second amendment.
and then members of congress i think are going to have to have a debate and examine their own believe this is true, everybody, across party lines was as deeply moved and saddened as i was by what happened in newtown, then we're going to have to vote based on what we think is best. we're going to have to come up with answers that set politics aside. and that's what i expect congress to do. what you can count on, the things that i've said in the past, the belief that we have to have stronger background checks, that we can do a much better job in terms of keeping these magazine clips with high capacity out of the hands of folks who shouldn't have them, an assault weapons ban that is meaningful, that those are
things i continue to believe make sense. will all of them get through this congress? i don't know. but what's uppermost in my mind is making sure i'm honest with the american people and with members of congress about what i think will work, what i think is something that will make a difference, and to repeat what i've said earlier, if there is a step that we can take that will save even one child from what happened in newtown, we should take that step. >> -- assault weapons ban? >> i'll present the details later in the week. chuck todd, nbc? >> thank you, sir. as you know, senate democrats, harry reid sent you a letter, begging you, essentially, to take, consider some sort of executive action on this debt ceiling issue. i know you've said you're not
negotiating on it. your administration has ruled out the various ideas that have been out there, the 14th amendment. but just this morning, one of the house democratic leaderships, jim clyburn, asked you to use the 14th amendment and said, sometimes that's what it takes. he brought up the emancipation proclamation, and he compared the debt ceiling to that. so are you considering a plan "b"? and if not, why not? >> well, chuck, the issue here is whether or not america pays its bills. we are not a deadbeat nation. and so there's a very simple solution to this. congress authorizes us to pay our bills. now, if the house and the senate want to give me the authority, so that they don't have to take
these tough votes, if they want to put the responsibility on me to raise the debt ceiling, i'm happy to take it. mitch mcconnell, the republican leader in the senate, had a proposal like that last year. and i'm happy to accept it. but if they want to keep this responsibility, then they need to go ahead and get it done. and you know, there are no magic tricks here. there are no loopholes. there are no, you know, easy outs. this is a matter of congress authorizes spending. they order me to spend. they tell me, you need to fund our defense department at such and such a level. you need to send out social security check you need to make sure that you are paying to care for our veterans. they lay all this out for me. and because they have the spending power.
so i am required by law to go ahead and pay these bills. separately, they also have to authorize the raising of the debt ceiling in order to make sure that those bills are paid. and what congress can't do is tell me to spend "x," and then say, but we're not going to give you the authority to go ahead and pay the bills. and i just want to repeat, because i think sometimes the american people, understandably, aren't following all the debates here in washington. raising the debt ceiling does not authorize us to spend more. all it does is say that america will pay its bills. and we are not a deadbeat nation. and the consequences of us not paying our bills, as i outlined in my opening statement, would be disastrous.
so i understand the impulse to try to get around this in a simple way. but there's one way to get around this. there's one way to deal with it, and that is for congress to authorize me to pay for those items of spending that they have already authorized. and, you know, the notion that republicans in the house or maybe some republicans in the senate would suggest that in order for us to get our way on our spending priorityies, that e would risk the full faith and credit of the united states, that, i think, is not what the founders intended. that's not how, i think, most americans think our democracy should work. they've got a point of view.
democrats in congress have a point of view. they need to sit down and work out a compromise. [ inaudible ] yeah. >> and you're not negotiating on the debt ceiling. >> yeah. >> so if you're not negotiating and they say you're not, and you have to consider plan "b," [ inaudible ]? >> well, look, chuck, there are -- there's a pretty straightforward way of doing this. and that is to set the debt ceiling aside, we pay our bills, and then we have a vigorous debate about how we're going to do further deficit reduction in a balanced way. now, keep in mind, that, you know, what we've heard from some republicans, in both the house and the senate, is that they will only increase the debt ceiling by the amount of
spending cuts that they're able to push through. and in order to replace the automatic spending cuts, the sequester, that's $1.2 trillion. say it takes another trillion or trillion-two to get us through one more year, they'd have to identify $2.5 trillion in cuts just to get the debt ceiling extended to next year. $2.5 trillion. they can't even -- congress has not been able to identify $1.2 trillion in cuts that they're happy with. because these same republicans say they don't want to cut defense. they've claimed that they don't want to gut medicare or harm the vulnerable. but the truth of the matter is that you can't meet their own criteria without drastically cutting medicare or having an impact on medicaid or affecting
our defense spending. so the math just doesn't add up. now, here's what would work. what would work would be for us to say, we've already done close to $2 trillion in deficit reduction, and if you add the interest that we won't be paying because of less spending and increased revenue, it adds up to about $2.5 trillion. the consensus is, we need about $4 trillion to stabilize our debt and our deficit. which means we need about $1.5 trillion more. the package that i offered to speaker boehner before we -- before the new year would achieve that. we were actually fairly close in terms of arriving at that number. so if the goal is to make sure that we are being responsible about our debt and our deficit, if that's the conversation we're having, i'm happy to have that conversation. and by cin